Strolling down grocery store aisles with cathedral-like ceilings does make one feel quite regal. Balducci's Market, on the corner of 14th and 8th in New York City, is by far one of the most beautiful places to get milk and butter checked off your list.
Foodie At Large
Lives: Spanish Harlem
Occupation: produce department at Balducci's
Favorite Meal: rice and beans
Ricardo works in the produce department and knows quite a bit from his experience at Balducci's and, formerly, Whole Foods. A former personal trainer and (almost) vegetarian, he originally chose to work in the produce department because it fit with his lifestyle. Ricardo, however, generally shops at his neighborhood bodegas in Spanish Harlem.
He describes his cooking style as "nothing fancy" – meals always include rice and beans and he varies the sides. He might have either boiled yucca with hot sauce or baccalau, which he eats with malanga (closely related to taro root). Baccalau, a much under-appreciated food is a staple in many countries. To prepare it, first soak it in water for 30 – 60 minutes, to remove the salt; rinse. For a simple rendering, you can then sauté it in some olive oil with garlic and onions. In Portugal recently, I had it with potatoes, black olives and hard-boiled egg. Both are hearty, traditional dishes that would please any Balducci's shopper.